How do I find my NAICS code for my PPP loan application?

In this 3-minute read:

  • How to find your NAICS code
  • What you need to know about NAICS codes for PPP loan applications
  • Examples of NAICS code searches for small businesses

If you’re applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, you’ll need to provide several business, tax, and payroll docs for your SBA-approved lender.

One thing you’ll need, and something that is causing small business owners a lot of confusion, is your business’s NAICS code. Most businesses don’t have that info available offhand, so here’s what you need to do.

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Go to the NAICS’s website here, and click on the “Find your NAICS Code” link at the top right of the screen. (Please note: millions of businesses are scrambling to apply, so the NAICS website may be slow to respond. Keep trying and be patient.)

On the following page you can search for your business type in the “NAICS Search” window, and select the most relevant options from the search results.

What’s my business’s NAICS code?

Let’s go through a couple examples. Say you run a hair salon, and want to know what the NAICS code is. You type “hair salon” in the search window, and carefully examine the results.

In this case, the code for “hair salon” is probably 812112, under “Beauty Salons: Hair stylist salons or shops, unisex or women’s.”

Please note that if you’re more accurately a “barber shop” or other men-only haircutting joint, your code is further down the page under “Barber Shops.”

So please take the time to carefully examine all of the options on your search result page and make sure you pick the one that most correctly describes your business.

Let’s look at another example: what if you want to know the code for your “cafe” or “diner”?

Try those search terms in the NAICS search window and you’ll get the following:

Then you need to make some decisions. If you serve more than coffee and baked goods (see below), the key distinction as far as the NAICS is concerned is whether you’re considered a “Full-Service Restaurant” or a “Limited-Service Restaurant.”

What’s the difference between limited service restaurants and full service restaurants for my NAICS code?

The NAICS code for full-service restaurants is 722511 and their distinction is as follows: “This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing food services to patrons who order and are served while seated (i.e., waiter/waitress service) and pay after eating.”

A “Limited-Service Restaurant” is NAICS code 722513: “This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing food services (except snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars) where patrons generally order or select items and pay before eating. Food and drink may be consumed on premises, taken out, or delivered to the customer’s location. Some establishments in this industry may provide these food services in combination with selling alcoholic beverages.”

If you search code 722513, the NAICS association provides the following as examples of “limited-service restaurants”:

  • Delicatessen restaurants
  • Pizza delivery shops
  • Family restaurants, limited-service
  • Takeout eating places
  • Fast-food restaurants
  • Fast casual restaurants
  • Takeout sandwich shops
  • Limited-service pizza parlors

So, if your “cafe” is a sit-down restaurant where patrons’ orders are taken by waitstaff and they pay after eating, you are considered a “full-service restaurant” by the NAICS and would select 722511 as your business’s NAICS code.

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If, on the other hand, your patrons order at a counter or bar (or order ahead via phone, website, or app) and pay for their food in advance, then you are mostly likely considered a “limited-service restaurant” and would select 722513 as your NAICS code.

It’s important to read all the options, especially if your “cafe” would more correctly described as a “coffee bar,” “juice bar,” “snack bar,” or any other kind of “nonalcoholic beverage bar” and whether you actually bake pastries and baked goods on your premises or simply sell them on site. 

There are different NAICS codes for those establishments, so read the full descriptions of all the search results the NAICS provides and select the one that correctly aligns with your business model and product offerings.

Once you’ve identified your business’s applicable NAICS code, you can gather all the documents needed to apply for a PPP loan and submit your free application for your Paycheck Protection Program loan with your lender.

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